Tuesday, 3 January, 2017
We made Sydney our first port of call in Australia due to the city’s highly-praised New Year’s Eve firework display. We’ve now experienced the spectacle and it was pretty flipping fantastic.
In order to watch this show, however, we would need to do a fair bit of preparation.
31st December is usually a pretty simple affair – drink, lock arms, drink, pass out, wake up, throw up, spend the entire next day wrapped up in a duvet on the couch.
In fact, under normal circumstances the only necessity is alcohol. The rest of the evening will play out accordingly from there.
However, this year required a little more forward thinking on our end – your needs go beyond vodka when in Sydney. Toast is almost just as essential and I was up buttering slice after slice of the stuff as early as 9am.
This is because we were told that we would need to get to the view point before 10am in order to find a good spot. That’s a full 14 hours before the main fireworks even begin. We’re all going to have bloody Hagrid beards by the time the clocks strike twelve!
I’m sure you now understand how vital toast was to the proceedings.
This amount of time would obviously require a level head when packing the day’s food supply, and after careful thought, I believe that we got our survival kit pretty spot on.
Our bag’s content was as follows:
Eight slices of buttered toast (I may have got a bit carried away in the end).
Two family-sized crisp packets.
One big bag of cookies.
One bottle of water.
One large bottle of coke topped up with a rather generous amount of vodka.
That right there is a pretty decent New Year’s Eve lunchbox.
We were pre-warned about the bag checks – alcohol was prohibited from our view point area – but on New Year’s Eve I play by my own rules. I’m straight rock ‘n’ bloody roll, mate. I buried the coke under the mountains of toast and smugly smiled to myself. That booze would be harder to find than Anne Frank dressed in Wally’s clothes.
Unfortunately, the security searched bags more thoroughly than I expected – in short, the bottle probably needed a further two slices of toast covering it to guarantee its safety. Thus, they found the booze and New Year’s Eve lost the centrepiece of its jigsaw.
The security guard took off the cap before sniffing at the liquid inside – and to be frank, the way this guy was smelling / breathing into my bottle, I’m not sure I would have drank it even if he gave it back to me – his nostrils were fully resting on the rim as he breathed quite intensely into my drink.
After sharing such an intimate moment with my bottle – he detected that his new love was tanked in vodka scented perfume. Therefore, he placed it onto the table behind him. My drink now sat alongside six other confiscated bottles, three of which were also cokes.
I felt amateurish – only an absolute beginner uses a coke mixer as a disguise. I should have camouflaged my vodka in a Fanta bottle! I’m not sure that his nose would have been quite so passionate with a bottle of orangeade – his table of cokes indicated that he’s far more into the scent of a brunette than a redhead.
So, we would now be entering unfamiliar territory – a sober New Year’s Eve.
The place was really crowded when we arrived – virtually every patch of grass was taken up by a tent or a group of people. I guess some camped overnight and others arrived while I was still buttering toast. The mood seemed very buoyant whichever way we turned – suggesting that those around us knew how to disguise their vodka better than I do.
Thankfully, as a small two person group, we were able to still just about slot ourselves into a little spot on the hill. However, if you were in attendance as a party of three or more and you arrived as late as eleven, you’d be left watching the show through a window of branches – the place really was that rammed.
So, we had our space and were ready for the fireworks show. All that we needed to do now was work out how to kill thirteen hours.
I knew I could pass a decent amount of time by getting stuck into my book – sure, it’s not quite as rock ‘n’ roll as my earlier antics – but a solid novel is a great way to fritter away the minutes, and frankly, not enough people read anymore. Yeah, how do you like them apples?
Plus, my ingredient for a party vibe is currently sitting in a bottle on a table far, far away – probably being sniffed at some more by a coke pervert that loves his job.
Unfortunately, two pages into my book, my ears become distracted. The tent to my left has formed a bit of a circle. It appears that the topless bloke with the wooden bracelets and blonde dreadlocks has decided that the time for him to pull out his guitar and show off to his friends had arrived – there is always one in every camping area.
His ‘set’ lasted four hours too. So, the first third of our waiting period was spent listening to that guy. The lad only played songs that he had written himself as well – I mean, at least throw one or two bloody covers into a four hour gig, pal. Come on! He also only had about six songs, so it felt like we were listening to the music the bank loops down the phone when they stick you on hold.
At one point, he assumed everybody had picked up one of his choruses. So, he shouted ‘sing along’ to his small circle. Sure, he got a bit of a rhythmic clap from a couple of them in response, but only his girlfriend knew what the frigging hell she was supposed to be singing.
He wasn’t going to take no for an answer though and kept repeating that chorus until everybody got it – including those unfortunate enough to be sitting close to the circle.
“The government can’t be right. The rich and the poor must unite. And make things better; oh, oh, oh.”
Lyrics that will surely one day inspire the Queen to leave her palace, head to a park bench and share some caviar with a couple of homeless chaps.
If there was ever a time that my vodka and coke could have come in handy, it was throughout that four hour performance. He also did a second set later in the day, but thankfully, that one only lasted about an hour.
Otherwise, we spent a lot of our waiting time eating toast.
The show itself was fantastic, the best firework display I’ve ever seen and certainly worth the wait – it was truly magical. At one point, a stream of fireworks fell from the base of the bridge and down to the water – that looked particularly special.
They also had a few themed displays and patterns that paid tribute to some of the musicians that have passed away in 2016, which was a pretty nice touch.
We then finished things off at our temporary local with a few beers.
All in all, good show, Sydney. Nice one!